Socializing and Decreased Hallucinations

Now that I have my medication situation under control I’ve been easing back into more of a normal type of life.  At least it’s as normal as a life of mental illness is going to get.  One of the aspects of my life that is starting to resemble normal is my social life.  Just last week I spent two hours outdoors chatting with two of my neighbors. Three days ago I chatted with a third neighbor for over an hour. Today I chatted one on one with another neighbor for almost two hours.  Those are the three longest conversations I’ve had with someone who wasn’t family in months.  I still make a point of calling my parents at least twice a week.  It’s not just Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day I talk to my parents.  I still go to counseling twice a month with the same counselor I’ve had for the last year and a half.  We have a pretty good thing going.  I also have a good deal going with my psych doctor.  I do kind of worry because both of these men are getting close to retirement age.  So I’ll be in the market for new therapists and doctors within a few years.  I’m so glad the subject of DNA testing came up with my psych doctor.  The medication I changed to was one my DNA tests said would work really well for me.  So the DNA testing has already paid off.  We might make another change within a few weeks.  But things seem to be working well enough now we might not even need to make a second change.

I’m also noticing I can now go entire days without feeling irritable.  I don’t even really get irritable while driving.  Since I usually drive a little slower than speed limit, especially in town, I usually get passed and sometimes cut off.  But neither really bothers me that much anymore.  And I’m beginning to drive more again.  For several months I drove only when I had to run errands or to visit my family.  I rarely made spontaneous trips.  And being in an auto accident several months ago didn’t help any.  Even though I wasn’t at fault in that accident I lost some confidence in my driving ability.  It’s now coming back.  I haven’t set out on a long road trip yet but I probably will this summer.  I try to take at least one several hour road trip every summer.

I’m also having fewer auditory hallucinations.  For me, my hallucinations were almost always voices. Occasionally I hear foot steps and doors closing that no one else does, which can be quite creepy. Voices and foot steps are the two biggest hallucinations I have.  If one were to watch me closely when I’m alone, you could see my lips move and I would be speaking under my breath. That’s how the hallucinations make themselves manifest. It no doubt looks very odd but hopefully it’s not as painfully obvious as some schizophrenic hallucinations.  I can have entire conversations with the voices and not even speak loud enough to be heard.  But since most of the voices are quite nasty and critical it’s not like the conversations are enriching or enjoyable.  But I’m getting to where I now have much more conversation with real flesh and blood people than just isolating and arguing with my hallucinations.

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No News Is Sometime Good News

It’s been rather uneventful for the last few days in my life with mental illness.  I really haven’t had any mental health issues.  Been feeling pretty quiet and content for at least a week.  After four weeks of medications changes I am now to where I can feel anger without fear of going psychotic.  Haven’t been able to exercise much because we’ve had lots of rain and chilly weather.  But in spite of not being able to exercise I have been feeling well.  I do feel a little cooped up as I haven’t been able to get out and about much, just because of the rain.  But the forecast looks hopeful.  Maybe I can get back outside exercising every day again soon.  May and June have always been my best months mentally.  April was decent considering I was undergoing a medication change.  I see my psych doctor again at the end of May to see what future medication changes are needed.  So far things are looking uneventful but hopeful.  I’ll keep you posted.

Changes

It’s been one week since I started the medications change.  I’m noticing big differences already.  For one, I make it a point to leave my apartment multiple times a day whereas I may have left only once or twice a day if at all.  Not only am I getting out more, I actually want to get out more.  Driving doesn’t cause me as much agitation now, so it’s easier to get across town.  Been to the park most days this last week.

I am more motivated and less lazy too it seems.  Finally shaved my winter beard.  I looked more like a mad prophet than a mountaineer with my growth.  I never looked good with beards.  I rearranged my apartment.  I even find myself watching baseball every night, especially since the season started a few days ago.  I used to go weeks without watching regular tv as I thought it was mind numbing and soul killing.  I still think most tv is mind numbingly stupid but I no longer swear off it entirely.

The only real negative I have seen is that I do get hungry more frequently.  Used to be I could eat a large breakfast, a small afternoon snack, and a decent dinner and that is all I would need for the day.  Now I have eat smaller meals every five hours it seems.  I’ve also developed a bad craving for sugary food.  This may make my weight loss tougher but then I have always been a naturally very large person.  I was one of these heavy kids in high school and college who had a lot of muscle in addition to being a little fat, so I looked a lot better than my measurements would have indicated.  I have had female friends for years tell me I was handsome despite how big I am.  I never put much stock in it until I hit my thirties because, really, how many teenagers and twenty somethings are satisfied with their looks even on a good day?  I guess my sugar cravings have replaced my cravings for caffeine.  I have drank maybe three cups of coffee in the last week.  I used to drink that many before noon most days.  I don’t have problems with blood pressure or cholesterol, at least not enough to be on medications.  But maybe my decreased want of caffeine will lower my blood pressure and reduce my anxiety level.

It has been an eye opening first week of a medication change.  I normally don’t experience this many changes this soon when switching medications.  But I hope the positive changes keep coming and the negative ones can be compensated for.

Changing Medications

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Saw my psych doctor a few days ago.  We agreed that a change in medications is in order.  Neither one of us think the meds I was on for the last two years are as effective as they once were.  He had me do a DNA cheek swab to be tested to see what medications would be effective given my DNA. The results will be in probably by the time I see him again in two weeks.  The tests may not be perfect but they should give us a better idea of what will and won’t work.  But these tests weren’t even around when I was diagnosed fifteen years ago.  For most of my illness we were merely throwing darts in the dark hoping to hit on something that would work.  We were just guessing, especially in the first year. For now I am starting the process of switching back to one of my previous medications.  I was on that med for several years but wanted to switch because it was known to promote weight gain.  But it sure was effective.  It’s too bad I let the side effects sabotage my previous attempts at weight loss.  Looking back, I think I used the side effect as an excuse not to be serious about my health.

In spite my recent mental health problems I managed to lose over twelve pounds in the first month of tracking my eating and exercising.  I’m seeing now that keeping track of what I eat is the difference between losing weight and gaining weight.  I was simply unaware of how much I really ate when I wasn’t tracking.  I am one of these people who would sometime eat just out of boredom.  But that has changed.  For my diet I cook almost all of my meals and I severely limit carbs.  I don’t even keep bread in the apartment anymore, haven’t for almost six months.  The weight loss has been the bright spot of this last month.  And I haven’t been crazy about my exercising.  I usually just walk twenty minutes a day probably five or six days a week.  I intend to keep this up even while changing medications.

Stability With Schizophrenia and Updates

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It’s been awhile since I posted.  Some updates and randomness are in order.  With spring being in full effect now, I’ve been outdoors and exercising every day.  We have a park that has some hiking trails that I’ve been doing for close to an hour a day about three to four days per week for the last few weeks.  Still get a little muscle soreness from this but I’m doing far better than where I was one year ago.

The mental health is even more stable at least 95 percent of the time.  I still have my occasional flare ups, especially under stress.  Fortunately I’ve gotten to where I either isolate to avoid physical contact with people or I’ll call a friend or family member and just talk my way back down.  Some of these conversations are scary even for me.  I know it’s even more so for those talking me back to sense, especially when I get personal about my rants.  I just hope friends and family don’t take anything personal because I am not vindictive or combative by nature.

I also got a different car.  A family friend was looking to sell a ten year sedan with only 34,000 miles.  So we, my family and I, took it.  My previous car was starting to have issues.  But it was over fifteen years old.  Many people don’t have houses that old.  With my newer car I’ve been getting out a little more.  I rarely travel outside my hometown during the winter months.

I’m going to be a groomsman in a college friend’s wedding this July.  They are both high school teachers in South Dakota.  It’s an outdoor wedding in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Beautiful country, especially in the summer.  If you haven’t been there, I recommend it.  I had to get measured for a suit.  I was measured a few years ago for when I was a pallbearer at my grandmother’s funeral, but since I lost weight I was due for a remeasure.  I get to spend three days in the Black Hills, always one of my favorite vacation spots.

Overall, things have been going well.  Been exercising almost everyday.  The weather is excellent.  The mental illness problems are at a minimum.  My new car is serving me well.  My old friend from college is getting married and I get to see it up close.  I’m getting out more.  No more spending entire days indoors because of winter weather.  I have been silent on this blog for a few weeks.  Not because things have gone bad, it’s because things have been going well.  Sometimes no news is good news.